Novel approaches with targeted therapies in bladder cancer: Therapy of bladder cancer by blockade of the epidermal growth factor receptor family

Joaquim Bellmunt*, Maha Hussain, Colin P. Dinney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


The improved understanding of the molecular biology of urothelial malignancies is helping to define the role of new targets and prognostic indices that can direct the most appropriate choice of treatment for advanced disease. Many human tumors express high levels of growth factors and their receptors that can be used as potential therapeutical targets. Tyrosine-kinase receptors, including many growth factor receptors such the receptors for epidermal growth factor (EGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and Her2/neu, have been found overexpressed in urothelial tumors. For many of these growth factor receptors, the degree of expression has been associated with the progression of cancer and a poor prognosis. Among the best studied growth factor receptors are the two members of EGF receptor familiy EGFr (ErbB-1), and Her2/neu (ErbB-2). Several preclinical studies in bladder cancer models, have confirmed that systemic administration of growth factor inhibitors inhibits the growth and metastasis of human transitional cell carcinoma established in the bladder wall of athymic nude mice. Additional studies indicate that therapy with EGFR inhibitors enhances the activity of conventional cytoreductive chemotherapeutic agents, in part by inhibiting tumor cell proliferation, angiogenesis, and inducing apoptosis. Novel targeted therapy hold promise to improve the current results of bladder cancer treatment. Based on the success seen with anti-HER2 monoclonal antibodies (Herceptin®) and the promising results with EGFR targeted agents (IMC-C225 Cetuximab®, ZD1389 Iressa®, OSI-774 Tarceva®, GW 57016) in other tumor types, and based on the results obtained in preclinical models, there is a great interest in assessing these agents in patients with bladder cancer. Several trials are now ongoing testing these new agents alone or in combination with chemotherapy in bladder cancer patients. The integration of these newer biologic agents, probably to supplement rather than to supplant chemotherapeutic drugs, should be a primary direction of research with the objective to interfere with multiple aspects of bladder cancer progression. However, the value of integration of biologically targeted agents into combined modality treatment for patients with bladder cancer has still to be proven.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-104
Number of pages20
JournalCritical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology
Issue numberSUPPL.
StatePublished - Jun 27 2003


  • Angiogenesis
  • Bladder cancer
  • Epidermal growth factor receptor family
  • Her2/neu
  • IMC-C225
  • Tyrosine kinase inhibitors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Novel approaches with targeted therapies in bladder cancer: Therapy of bladder cancer by blockade of the epidermal growth factor receptor family'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this